Equality Matters

Fox News Columnist Launches Transphobic, Unscientific Rant Against MMA Fighter

March 21, 2013 12:40 pm ET - by Carlos Maza

Fox News contributor and self-identified “comedian” Stephen Crowder published a transphobic FoxNews.com column smearing a transgender Mixed Martial Arts fighter by repeatedly referring to her as a male and incorrectly accusing her of having an unfair advantage over her opponents as a result of “being a man.”

In a March 20 FoxNews.com column, Crowder railed against transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox, repeatedly depicting her as a male who’s interested in “beating up women”:

Let me paint you a picture: your daughter is playing a contact sport. Say, football or hockey. She's gone from being your little girl to becoming a beautiful young woman. Opposite her on the field (or ice), is somebody who once was a man, until he decided that he didn’t feel like being one anymore.


Enter Fallon Fox, a male-to-female transgendered person, who has now decided to make a living by beating up women.


Unless you were born and raised a woman, you don’t go around hitting chicks.

Crowder’s insistence on referring to Fox as a male is clearly meant to be derogatory. Mentally, physically, and legally, Fox is considered a woman. Given she also self-identifies as a woman, Crowder is violating basic journalistic standards by failing to identify a transgender person by his or her stated gender. As Bleacher Report’s Matt Juul recently wrote:

While it's fair to debate the possible advantages of Fox's physical attributes (although there's increasing scientific evidence that she has zero advantages), referring to her as a man is disrespectful and is not even close to being factually accurate. [emphasis added]

Solidifying himself as more of a "comedian" than a commentator, Crowder went on to claim – in the most stigmatizing and shameful way possible – that, because she was born a biological male, Fox has an unfair physical advantage over her female opponents:

So let’s assume for a second that one can completely change their genetics (rather than the likely reality of having merely pushed certain, inconvenient gene expressions at bay) after having Bobbitt’d their wiener. It is still undeniable that for this person’s entire life, that he had the hormonal profile and capabilities of a man. This is of course to say nothing of the ligaments, bone density and overall musculature that has been built over a lifetime of… well, being a man. Let’s just talk hormones for a second.


On a related note, Fallon Fox has being using steroids for decades.

They’re called testicles.

If you’ve had them, grown up with them and used them... you don't get to beat up women. [emphasis added]

Crowder is unqualified to be making statements about the physical characteristics of a transgender woman.

According to experts who have looked at Fox’s case, Fox is unlikely to experience any significant physical damage over her female opponents.

Dr. Marci Bowers, MD:

Most measures of physical strength minimize, muscle mass decreases, bone density decreases, and they become fairly comparable to women in their musculature. After as much time as has passed in her case, if tested, she would probably end up in the same muscle mass category as her biologically born female counterpart.

Dr. Sherman Leis, founder of the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery:

If an individual is on female hormones, and she's been on them for several years, the hormones decrease the muscle mass, bone density, strength, libido and aggression. Those things are attributed to testosterone, and if she no longer produces testosterone, then she would have the level that an average female would have.

She's been doing that (hormone therapy) for so many years, that she probably does not have a significant advantage, if any at all. Especially because she wasn't a big man when she lived as a male. She's 5'7 and slight of build, and basically the size of an average female. Factor in that she's been on hormones for so long, and has had the surgery, she more than likely has the muscle mass, bone density and strength of most females.

As Sports Illustrated noted, “conclusive supporting data on the subject of competitive equity has only increased as the transgender community grows among all ages.”

And James McDonald at Bleacher Report recently noted that much of the criticism about Fox’s alleged physical advantage has been based on bias and ignorance, not real medical expertise.

This clearly seems to be the case with Crowder, who has no basis in his column for blindly insisting “she’s a man!” Like his fellow Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow who regularly misinforms about LGBT issues, Crowder is more interested in mocking and stigmatizing transgender people than doing actual research about the subject he’s commenting on. 

Last month, GLAAD called on Fox News to end its transphobic coverage, yet given Crowder's column, it seems the network has failed to do so. 


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